A new Palestinian terror group aligned with the ideology of Al Qaeda has been formed in the Gaza Strip and may plan attacks not only against Israel but also against other “enemies of Islam and their collaborators among Arab regimes,” the group’s leader, Abu Muhammad, told WorldNetDaily.
Abu Muhammad heads the new Army of Islam, which bills itself as the Palestinian organization ideologically closest to Al Qaeda. The Army is one of three terror groups that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in June of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It is led by Gaza’s infamous Dugmash clan, a family of strongmen that lead several terror cells in Gaza, including the “Saladin resistance department” of the Popular Resistance Committees.
In his first-ever interview, Abu Muhammad, a senior member of the Dugmash clan, explained why his group is different from other major Palestinian “resistance organizations”:
“We believe that Muslims should participate in the jihad no matter how far the jihad field is from a geographic point of view,” he said. “We are not limiting ourselves to the jihad in Palestine as the other Palestinian groups do, and we see that our duty obliges us to help Muslims and to participate in the jihad everywhere it is needed.
“For the moment, we are restricting ourselves to Palestine not because of ideological or strategic reasons, but just because Palestine is today the most important field of jihad in the world. If the situation changes, we easily see ourselves as soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere,” said Abu Muhammad.
The terror leader warned that attacks against U.S. interests may come soon. “[Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice said that the U.S. wants a new Middle East, and there is no doubt that jihad, the armed jihad, will be the main tool and weapon when the day will come, and we believe that this day is not so far,” Abu Muhammad said.
Top members of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath party were advised in a private briefing to purchase real estate in the Golan Heights because, they were told, the strategic territory will “very soon” be returned to Syria, a Baath official told WorldNetDaily.
“This is not a political recommendation. It was made in private to top officials because it is absolutely estimated that Syria will very soon get the Golan Heights back,” the official said. “We’ve been instructed to purchase what will become prime real estate for us.”
Military officials say returning the Golan Heights to Syria would grant Damascus the ability to mount an effective ground invasion of the Jewish state. The Heights looks down on major Israeli and Syrian population centers. It borders Israel, Syria and Lebanon and is claimed by Damascus. Earlier, this column broke the story that Syria is in the process of forming what a Baath party official called the Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights, a new “resistance” group that models itself after Hizbullah.
One week later, Al-Alam Iranian television featured an interview with a man who identified himself as the leader of the new Front for the Liberation of the Golan Heights. The man, whose fetures were blocked out, said his new group consists of “hundreds” of fighters who are currently training for guerilla-like raids against Israeli positions in and near the Golan. He claimed the Front has opened several training camps inside Syria.
This week, a previously unknown organization calling itself the Men of the National Syrian Resistance faxed statements to news agencies threatening to kidnap Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights.
Kidnapping on the Agenda
Palestinian terror organizations are currently training in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to carry out operations aimed at kidnapping more Israeli soldiers, said a terrorist leader whose group was one of three organizations that abducted Gilad Shalit.
Abu Abir, a senior leader in Gaza of the Popular Resistance Committees, thanked the international community for what he said was its recognition that kidnappings of Israeli soldiers is not considered terrorism but “military operations that bring very big results.”
He said the “best way” to gain the freedom of thousands of Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, including convicted terrorists, is by kidnapping more Israeli soldiers.
“We are now planning and training for the next kidnappings. Even if [Israel] releases hundreds of prisoners in exchange for Shalit, we still have thousands more to liberate. More Israeli soldiers must be abducted,” Abu Abir said, amid reports this week that Israel is considering releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. Israel has several times freed large numbers of prisoners, including convicted terrorists, in exchange for peace agreements or for the release of Israeli captives. Some of the freed prisoners have gone on to murder Israelis. Israeli Hagar Ben-Ovadia was killed in Jerusalem by two Fatah men released by Israel in 1985. Israeli Eyal Yeverboim and his seven-month-old son were murdered in 2005 by terrorists released two months earlier to “strengthen” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He can be heard regularly throughout the week on top American radio programs. He served as a co-host of ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show, which went on hiatus last week and is scheduled to return in late fall.